Mr. Creswell's speech, which was repeatedly cheered, was followed by music from the band. Frederick Douglass Esq, was then introduced by Dr. Brown, who spoke of him as a son of Maryland who should now be working among us, and he believed he soon would be.
Mr. Douglass said that during the last thirty years he had often appeared before the people as a slave, sometimes as a fugitive slave, but always in behalf of the slave. But to-day he was permitted to appear before them as an American citizen. How grea t the change. Thirty five years ago he was working as a slave in Talbot county, and looked forward even then that there would some time come a day when not a fetter should clank or a whip crack over the backs of his fellow men. That day has come at last. When we remember how slavery was interlinked with all our institutions, it is amazing that today we witness this demonstration. When toiling on the plantation we slaves desired to talk of emancipation, but there stood the overseer and a word would ensure a flogging. To talk about emancipation without being discovered we invented a vocabulary, and when the over seer thought we were talking of the most simple thing we were really speaking of emancipation, but in a way that was Greek to them. [Laughter and a pplause.] The negro has now got the three belongings of American freedom. First the cartridge box, for when he got the eagle on his button and the musket on his shoulder he was free. Next came the ballot box, some of its most earnest advocates now hardly saw it three years ago, but we'll forgive them now. Next we want the jury box. [Applause.] While the negro-hating element sits in the jury box the colored man's welfare is insecure and we demand that he be represented in the halls of justice. Nobody will be injured by justice. The Fifteenth Amendment means that hereafter the black man is to have no excuse for ignorance, poverty or destitution. Our excuse for such in the past is swept away from us by the Fifteenth Amendment. We are to stand up and be resp onsible for our own existence, we must be independent men and citizens - we are to know our friends and equally to know our enemies and take none in trust. When a friend performs a good act or an enemy a malicious act towards us are we not to remember the m? [Cries of "Yes!"] I love my friends and remember my enemies. I remember that party that for forty years has been endeavoring to enslave us and crush us and I want you to remember that party at the ballot box. [Applause.] What party is that? [Cries of " Democratic!"] Do you remember the party that, when the Democrats endeavored to overthrow the Government, stepped between the Government and its blows? Then let us give three cheers for the Republican party! [Enthusiastic Cheers.] I see you are all right h ere, and I am not afraid to have election day come around. [Applause.] I loved everything of Maryland except slavery -- it was that I ran away from thirty two years ago. I felt a little mean however, and only did not stop to tell them goodbye because I wa s afraid they would not let me go. I found that God never began to hear my prayers for liberty until I began to run. Then you ought to have seen the dust rise behind me in answer to prayer. [Applause.]
Forty years ago I sat on Kennard's wharf, at the foot of Philpot street and I saw men and women chained and put on ship to go to New Orleans. I then resolved that whatever power I had should be devoted to the freeing of my race. For thirty years in the midst of all opposition, I have endeavored to fulfil my pledge. I am here today to pledge myself that whatever remains to me of life shall go in the same direction. Possibly I ought to be in Maryland, but the time has come when the black man owes nothing to States. You are not indebted to Maryland for the fra nchise. The old ideas of State sovereignty have been abolished by the war. We have now a common country and a common legislature - there are no States but the United States. All that any man can ask of another is that he do his best for the whole country. Will you be as good masters to yourselves as your masters were to you? [Cries of better!] Will you work as hard for yourselves as you did for your masters? [Cries of yes!] Will you be as sober and temperate now as you were before? [Renewed cries of yes!] I believe you but some affect not to. They believe that you will die out like the Indian, that you cannot exist in competition with the white men. Well if two centuries and a half of slavery, the whip, prisons, and the abolition of the marriage relation could not kill you then liberty will not. [Applause.] Educate your sons and daughters, send them to school and show that besides the cartridge box, the ballot box, and the jury box, you have also the knowledge box. Build on for those who come after you. I am no orator. The orators who are to come up in the hereafter from the colored race will throw me and Langston far into the background. We have a future, everything is possible to us. Get education and get money in your pocket, and save it, for without it you will never be an independent voter.